“Success always comes when preparation meets opportunity,â€ famed artist Henry Hartman once said. It is an old adage that many entrepreneurs have adopted to tell their stories of business success. LaTanya Junior, owner of TCB360.com, is no exception. Junior’s company, which teaches large and small businesses brand development, strategic planning, implementation, marketing, and media, has nearly $1.2 million in revenue and an online radio show rated No. 26 in the world by Live 365, the largest distributor of Internet radio. But business has not always been so highly lucrative.
In fact, when Junior, 44, opened shop in her home in Brooklyn, New York, in 2001, she mentored small minority businesses through a column she wrote for a handful of African American publications. She also conducted 40 workshops in two U.S. cities and Canada, but did it all on her own dime and without securing a single fee. A year later Junior, who had worked more than a decade as a brand development and marketing executive for ad powerhouses Young & Rubicam, Grey Advertising, the Mingo Group, Stedman Graham & Associates, and Ogilvy & Mather, was still speaking for free, but a chance meeting with a brand icon gave her the client and clout she needed to take her company to the next level.
“I flew in to Atlanta for an event, and when I got in the limousine, Dick Gregory, who was the keynote speaker at the event, was in the limousine. We had an hour together and he said that he would come to hear me speak later that day, and he did,â€ Junior says. “In fact, for the next three years, he showed up to all of my presentations that targeted larger companies. Then one morning he called me and asked me to meet him at the airport in Tennessee,â€ she adds. Junior was in New York when she got the call, but that didn’t stop her from getting a flight to the South.
She was brought in to participate in a preliminary meeting about marketing a series of cleaning products with the George Foreman name. Two weeks later, John Bellamy, owner of the marketing product development firm, offered her a three-year contract to develop the media and strategic planning for the products, a deal that earned her a $75,000 fee and 1% of the product sales.
Today, Junior has 60 clients under her belt, including Jackson State University, Arlene Weston, owner of Maroons Restaurants, Johnnetta Cole, Spelman College’s first black female president, and Anita Estell, an adviser in the Clinton administration.
Preparation is a critical component to business success. But keeping your shop afloat, especially in a down economy, requires innovation, strategic planning, and some basic business tools. Here are five ways you can gain momentum and build more business along the way:
1. Develop a brand plan: “Defining yourself as a brand is what separates you in the market,â€ Junior says. But then you must develop that brand. Start by